Op-ed/Analysis: The Future of Parity Clauses in Video Games

A parity clause is something that exists and has existed in contracts for a long time. One of the main goals of a parity clause in a video game contract is to ensure that a video game is as good on one company’s hardware (the gaming console) as on another company’s hardware.

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darthv72197d ago (Edited 197d ago )

"Historically, some video game platforms have said that you can’t release on their platform if you’ve first released on another platform. In 2015, this was a huge issue in gaming, with Microsoft taking a controversial parity clause stand."

Actually, this goes back further than that. On the 360 they had the same clause. There wasn't much of a ruckus made of it then because the 360 tended to be the lead platform in comparison to PS3. And many say the PS3 games suffered as a result (instead of it being more challenging to program for).

Fast forward to the 8th gen and Sony too had a parity clause and that was they didn't want sloppy seconds. If a game could not release on PS4 first, then they wanted something more in their version to differentiate it from the rest. That meant extra content not found in the other platforms. Or a timed window for their system first before the same extra content could be released on the other platforms.

It isnt really anything new. Each platform holder wants to feel like they are providing the reason for their customers to keep playing on their platform. And that meant making deals for timed releases or more content or even full exclusivity in exchange for helping to fund a project. And it probably will continue to be a thing for some time to come.

ApocalypseShadow196d ago (Edited 196d ago )

Correct. I actually agree with everything you said. Including the past history. Good show Darth.

Although not exactly the same, there was a parity clause for VR. Sony wanted base PS4 and Pro to play the same games. We know Pro could have done more but couldn't as Sony might have thought it would be splitting a growing but small base of users. As a base PS4 user, I would have been disappointed if Pro games had more enemies, better physics, etc than the current superficial window dressing of resolution. I even felt slighted for no feet in my version of Spider-Man FFH VR. I'd watch videos thinking, "where's my feet? How come I don't have feet like some videos? Oh. It's only Pro and PC." Sounds crazy.

So I'm glad Sony's next headset is breaking away from all of it. No base or Pro PS4 to hold it back, no PS Move to hold it back, no mobile Facebook headset. No old PC configurations that have games built on HDD. Nothing. Which is why I'm excited to see what that SSD and PS5 can do for VR. No parity. Some want Sony to make a wireless hybrid headset. But mobile versions of the games would hold back PS5 VR games. I want no parity to hold back next gen VR. Yeah. Some developers will port like with Lo-Fi from PC. I can live with that and Alyx as is but would like for the developers to improve them coming over. But I'll be buying mostly games built for SSD and Tempest.

JEECE195d ago

Lol I've never seen you get only upvotes.

darthv72195d ago

Im not always a bad guy. 😉😉